So - how to describe this wool festival that was different to any other that I'd been to? Well, through my senses, I think, which might help to give you an idea of what a lovely occasion it was.
To start then - sight - and what a sight it was, to be greeted by bunting and yarnbombing right outside the Skipton Auction Mart door.
And then, tickets and programme bought, it was into the entrance hall where there was more bunting than you can imagine hanging from the ceiling. Photographs don't really do it justice; it was more colourful than a picture ever is and for me, summed up people's desire to be a part of something special like Yarndale. Crocheters from all over the world sent in over 6,000 triangles which, when strung together, made 1.25km worth of bunting. That's an awful lot of bunting! It also made me realise that trying to spot my triangles in all of that was a bit of a pointless exercise!
Beyond the bunting-bedecked hall were the pens, full of stall holders and their woolly wares - over 150 of them! I liked the idea that the sheep end-products were displayed in the same place that the sheep themselves are paraded on other days. As it had been a long drive from Winwick, I'd been sure to arrive early to get a parking space and consequently was one of the first through the doors - it was like being in a huge sweet shop - where to start? Stall after stall of beautiful hand-dyed yarns, shawls, knitted garments, needles, buttons, anything you could possibly think of, including alpacas! Such sweet-looking creatures, they were humming in a way that reminded me of my dog in the back of the car when he thinks he's going for a walk. The alpacas should definitely come under the touch category as their fleece is so soft and squishable!
After a quick look around and a mental note of where I wanted to spend money later, it was time to head off to the workshop I had booked - learning how to dye yarn with Jaki Bogg. I've wanted to dye my own sock yarn for quite some time but have never been quite brave enough to launch in (not least because I know I'll probably make a huge mess!). This seemed like the ideal opportunity and after a couple of hours of soaking and dyeing various fibres, I think I'm confident enough to have a go on my own now.
Here we all are being very creative, with Jaki in the green t-shirt right at the back trying to keep up with us as she microwaved our creations to set the dye! I won't show you my efforts from the workshop - I'll save it for when I've had a go with some proper yarn so prepare to be dazzled! J
After that, it was time for some lunch and my sense of smell led me over to the smaller of the two cafes where I was tempted by a local pork and apple burger which tasted extremely good, I can tell you! And on the subject of smell, being so early into the auction mart, I noticed that it smelled of animals which added to the feeling of Yarndale being in exactly the right place.
I took my lunch to the Knit n Natter lounge and there she was, surrounded by her fabulous crocheted creations - Lucy from Attic24. She's a lovely lady and a very unassuming celebrity; I think she was quite stunned by the number of people who wanted to come and talk to her as well as the huge crowds that had flocked (J) to Yarndale. People were queuing up to ask technique questions, tell her how much they enjoyed her blog or just to say hello, and she took the time to speak to all of them. I think it's quite amazing how someone's words on the internet can reach out to so many people and encourage or inspire them to creativity of their own.
Time for a few purchases:
Not one but two new Herdy mugs to replace my broken one (they were a baargain, I couldn't resist - plus I've got a spare J), a new tape measure (another Herdy treat), some beautiful damselfly blue yarn from Eden Cottage Yarns and, thanks to Victoria at Eden Cottage Yarns pointing me in the right direction, some undyed sock yarn from Yarnundyed and a dye starter kit from Colour Craft to get started on my own dyeing adventures. Oh, and my Yarndale programme's there too.
I still had some time before I was expected home, so I swapped the sound of the hustle and bustle of the Auction Mart for the outdoor sounds of Yarn Walk down into Skipton ...
passing more bunting ...
ducks a-dabbling ...
to The Studio where Lucy works with her friend Tracy. I've seen pictures of The Studio on Lucy's blog but it's funny how you imagine something from photos and it turns out to be different in real life. Tracy said that many people had told her they expected The Studio to be bigger, but for me the surprise was that it was L-shaped. Here's Tracy in her corner ...
and this is Lucy's corner.
I love the Attic24 picture that is featured on her blog - here it is in real life!
I didn't stay too long - The Studio isn't big enough for all of the people who wanted to come up to be in all at the same time, so I said goodbye and headed back up to the Auction Mart. It was still busy but I'd seen all I'd wanted to see and it was time to head home. I took a last look around from an aerial viewpoint - this gives you a little bit of a sense of just how big it all was - and then set off for the motorway and Winwick.
From talking to people on the day, I think Yarndale has been a bigger success than anyone imagined, and the good news is that will probably mean a repeat performance in the future. I'll be making quite sure I have my ticket.